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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, September 01, 2018 1:00 am

BAE scam nets 1-year probation

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man was sentenced to one year of probation Friday in the first sentencing related to a tuition assistance scam involving defense contractor BAE Systems. 

Brian R. Dunbar, 37, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in April to one count of wire fraud in connection with the scheme, in which 31 BAE employees are accused of participating. Dunbar stole $12,500 in the plot, which prosecutors say netted close to $800,000 for employees who signed up for college courses and pocketed reimbursements without ever taking the classes.

Dunbar worked for BAE from October 2007 to April 2016. Employees used company software to submit fraudulent information and documentation about course attendance and completion to receive reimbursement from the company's tuition assistance program. 

On Friday, Dunbar expressed remorse for his role in the scam.

“I apologize for my actions. I know they caused a lot of stress, grief and embarrassment,” he said, noting that he was prepared to immediately pay in full the $12,500 restitution ordered by the court.

Speaking to Dunbar, U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann said nothing in the defendant's file would have suggested he would ever have to carry a federal felony wire fraud conviction on his record. 

“You did everything right up until age 37,” Springmann said. “It's so unfortunate that you have to carry this federal felony on your record and all of the consequences that come with it.” 

Springmann added that she was “heartened” by the remorse Dunbar has shown. 

“It's obvious you're working hard ... putting in extra hours and have saved enough to pay back BAE Systems on your own,” Springmann said. “I'm confident, given your actions post-charges, that you are back on the right path.”

dgong@jg.net